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Hornets shut out Bobcats 35-0 on Senior Night

By Nick Ray

Item Correspondent

POPLARVILLE – The 2019-2020 Poplarville senior class made the most of their final regular season home game as the Hornets clinched a first-round playoff home game in a strong defensive and balanced offensive attack in a 35-0 rout of the Sumrall Bobcats Friday night.

The Hornets finish as runner-up in district play and will host the loser of the St. Stanislaus/Pass Christian contest next Friday evening, Nov. 8, with kickoff at 7 p.m.

Poplarville (5-5, 4-1 in district play) overcame a rugged early season schedule and an 1-4 start, to win four out of the season’s last five games in preparation for a post season run in the Class 4A state playoffs.

The opening kickoff began with the Hornets fumbling the ball away. However, on Sumrall’s first snap of the night, the Bobcats returned in kind with a fumble recovered by sophomore linebacker Khalid Moore at the Poplarville 38.

The Hornet rushing attack of Greg Swann, Ethan Taylor, Caziah Daniels, Blaise Breerwood, moved the ball to the end zone on nine plays. The drive was capped when Taylor scored on a 10-yard touchdown run. Sophomore kicker Zach Carpenter’s point-after-touchdown attempt was good, and Poplarville led 7-0 at the 9:02 mark of the first quarter. Carpenter finished 5-5 on PAT’s for the night.

Sumrall’s lone scoring threat of the first half came on the ensuing drive when the Bobcats’ 15-play drive failed to produce points and possession changed hands at the Hornet’s 29-yard line with less than a minute remaining in the first quarter.

Poplarville added a score in the second quarter on a 70-yard march on seven plays that was capped with Ethan Taylor’s second rushing touchdown of the evening on a 33-yard run to give Poplarville a 14-0 lead at the 4:20 mark.

Late in the first half it appeared Poplarville would add to its lead. The Hornets moved the ball to the Bobcats’ two-yard line with four seconds remaining. A fumbled snap exchange stopped progress to the one-yard line as the first half came to a close.

Poplarville’s first drive of the second half began at the Hornet’s 29. Explosive runs by Casin Sones and Zac Owen moved the ball across the goal line in four plays. Owen scored on a two-yard rushing touchdown at the 5:58 point of the third quarter to give the Hornets a 21-0 lead.

Sumrall’s failed fourth down gamble on the next possession gave Poplarville prime opportunity to extend the lead as the Hornets began the drive at the Bobcats’ 33-yard line. On the first play, quarterback Blaise Breerwood rolled out to his right and threw a perfect strike to receiver Kevin Hart for a score to extend the margin to 28-0 at the 5:58 mark.

On the first play of the final quarter, Sumrall (2-8, 0-5) recovered a fumble by linebacker Carson Duck and returned it 57 yards to the Hornets’ 20-yard line. However, the Bobcats could only manage to lose five yards on four downs and possession on downs, giving the ball to the Hornets at its own 25-yard line. Poplarville marched 75 yards to place the final points of the evening on the scoreboard. Owen finalized the scoring on the ninth play of the drive with a 22-yard gallop to the end zone with 7:08 remaining in the game.